S. Katie Guffey

S. Katie Guffey

Assistant Professor, Department of Leadership and Teacher Education
Science Education


B.S., Biology/Chemistry, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, 2008
M.A., Science Teaching, East Carolina University, 2012
Ph.D., Science Education, University of Wyoming, (est) 2017

Teaching Philosophy

As a science teacher educator, I want to guide my students to have a better understanding of the world and how their voices can be communicated successfully to our society at large. As educators, we are aware that students come to the classroom with preconceived notions of how scientific processes work and that their reasoning may not fully justify their ideas. To achieve these goals, my approach to teaching is centered around four overarching goals: 1) Address misconceptions; 2) Engage in a process of critical reflection and rational discourse; 3) Develop students’ problem solving strategies; and 4) Teach students to work collaboratively.


Currently, my primary research effort involves developing a valid, criterion-referenced instrument to measure student learning in introductory geology courses (Exam of GeoloGy Standards, EGGS). This multi-phase research project allows a national cadre of college faculty nationally to easily assess the impact of various innovative instructional approaches. College faculty need validated pre-test/post-test conceptual diagnostic surveys to gauge students’ prior knowledge and then monitor the success of their teaching by systematically measuring their students’ learning gains. Building off the research described above, my second research avenue is to develop new learning materials based on my research for introductory college courses.


I am collaborating with faculty in the Earth Science department to develop citizen-science projects for pre-service and in-service science teachers. I enjoy bringing a science educator perspective into our cross-disciplinary conversations. As a new community member, I am involved with the Mobile cycling, swimming, and running clubs.


I was born and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Upon graduating high school, I moved to the coast where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Shortly after, I began working in an outpatient surgery center in Columbia, South Carolina and I decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Science Teaching at East Carolina University. After working as a high school science teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina for a few years, I packed my bags, once again, and moved to Laramie, Wyoming, where I earned a Ph.D. in Science Education. As a graduate student I took advantage of several opportunities and was fortunate enough to travel all over the world to learn about science and best practices for teaching science. I recently moved to Mobile and am excited to start this new adventure at the University of South Alabama. In my free time you will find me enjoying many outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fly-fishing, swimming, biking, skiing, and running.


EDU 337   Teaching Science 

EDU 340   Fundamentals of Teaching

EDU 456   Teaching Science in Secondary Schools

SED 556   Teaching Science in Secondary Schools